Born and raised in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Tony’s fondest childhood memories revolve around Sunday suppers at his grandparents. Both of his grandparents were accomplished Southern cooks and they taught him much about the ins and outs of southern cuisine as well as an appreciation for food in general. He also grew up in a restaurant family with his father and uncles involved with various restaurants and clubs and grew to be just as comfortable going in the back doors of those establishments as the front.
He started his restaurant career at the age of 16 as a busboy at one of his uncle’s restaurants and realized that his existing passion for food was only augmented by the hustle and bustle of the restaurant business. While studying History and Political Science at the College of Charleston, Tony realized that his excitement for cuisine and the restaurant industry eclipsed his love of Geo-Politics and made the decision to pursue that passion. A trip to Italy opened his eyes to the synergy between food and wine and the die was cast.
Tony joined the Maverick Southern Kitchens restaurant group in 2002 and was trained by local industry luminaries such as David Marconi and Chef Frank Lee. Tony went on to work his way through the ranks at Maverick Southern Kitchens from a server, through various levels of management and responsibility as a Sommelier, and eventually took over for his mentor, Advanced Sommelier Patrick Emerson, as Beverage Director for the company. As Beverage Director Tony oversaw the wine and spirits programs of the Charleston institution Slightly North of Broad as well as the nationally acclaimed High Cottons in Charleston and Greenville and The Old Village Post House. It was in this role that Tony came to realize that the most personally satisfying part of his position was the training and development of servers, bartenders and managers of whom over a dozen went on to become Sommeliers themselves.
Tony and his long time girlfriend have made their home in Charleston and when not working can be found at the beach with their dog, buried in a book or vainly trying to keep up with the onslaught new area restaurants.